Maybe you’ve noticed that your puppy has been biting more than you want it to and you’re not quite sure how to deal with it. The most important thing you need to know is that you shouldn’t ignore your puppy’s excessive biting. In this blog post, we give you possible answers for your question of “how to stop a puppy from biting” while offering solutions to your problem.
Why Puppies Bite Excessively
There are quite a few reasons why a puppy bites — here are some of the most common ones.
Puppies Bite if Untrained
A nipping puppy is usually the result of a lack of training — the goal behind training your pup is to teach them that human skin is sensitive and that their bites hurt. According to professional dog trainers, puppies will generally learn biting behavior during play with other puppies. This is part of their natural behavior, but if they’re able to use their mouth softly, they won’t hurt you or bite hard during puppy play.
But you should also know that your puppy will discover the world using their teeth. Puppy biting is an attempt to learn how to best engage with the environment and is normal puppy behavior. However, they can display aggressive behavior and seriously bite if they are in pain, angry, or fearful.
This is where training will come in handy, and you’ll need to train your puppy according to different situations that may lead to excessive biting.
Puppies Bite More When Teething
There’s a practical reason behind why puppies bite when teething — a puppy’s mouth is full of 28 sharp puppy teeth. However, teething is a process that comes early to puppies compared to human babies. Blood spots are a sign of developing teeth and by the time they’re six months of age, adult teeth should have replaced all baby teeth.
As their teeth undergo development, they will go through different stages of puppy teething, including sore gums as their first teeth emerge. To relieve themselves of pain, puppies will often chew and bite things around the home. New puppy parents will usually think of this as bad behavior, but you should know that this is just a way for your puppy to lessen the unpleasant experience of teething.
You can help to ease the pain during this biting phase by providing them with appropriate chew toys, or chewable treats like a bully stick. It will also help to take your puppy to the vet for regular teeth checkups.
Puppies Bite When Being Playful or Bored
Physical activity is an essential part of growing up, especially during your puppy’s early stages. There will be times when your puppy won’t mean to hurt you but doesn’t know the strength of their bite. However, remember that this is a sign that your young puppy wants to play — they will want to play all day at this stage.
If you notice your puppy nipping at your toes and pulling your pants after sitting on a chair, know that this is pretty standard behavior. Because they can’t talk to people, it’s up to you to understand how they communicate. It’s also best to remember that all their actions are meant to get your attention and to show you how much they want to spend their time with you.
While adult dogs can play along and keep themselves entertained, puppies will rely on you to give them the social interaction they need. Puppies can develop inappropriate behavior and bad habits when they’re ignored, which will lead to more problems down the road. Fortunately, puppies can learn fast and are able to learn commands in just a few days.
You’ll be able to teach them various games that they can play on their own. But this doesn’t mean that you don’t have to play with them anymore — you will still need to be there for their every play session.
Puppies Bite Out of Anxiety
New puppies love spending time with their owners, but overcrowding and loud noises can make them become anxious. When puppies don’t feel safe, they may start digging and barking, which may lead to painful bites. To avoid such a scenario, never place young dogs in situations where they don’t feel safe or comfortable.
This is the reason why it’s so important to teach your pup to socialize in public, which can be achieved by introducing them to humans and other pets. Regular interactions with young children, other dog owners, and family members can help develop good behavior.
How to Stop a Puppy from Biting You
Now that you understand why your puppy bites and engages in rough play, you’re ready to think of a better way to correct problem behaviors. Below are just a few simple steps to help improve your puppy’s behavior.
Train Your Puppy as Soon as Possible
As pet parents, we need to start training our pups as soon as they come into our homes. Proper training can help to reduce instances of dog biting while obedience training will help them to follow your commands. Providing dog training will not only get your mouthy puppy to stop biting, but it will also teach them basic commands such as stop, sit, lie, and stay.
You might think that the breeder where you got your puppy has trained them well, but proper training can only take place after eight weeks of age. Bite inhibition is a great way to teach your puppy about gentle play — to do this, start yelping if they bite you during play. This will let them know that they need to stop biting hard.
If it doesn’t work, and your puppy keeps biting you, begin yelping and ignore your pup for 15 to 20 seconds. This is a great way to stop your puppy’s excessive biting, and when you repeat it, you’ll find that puppy nips won’t happen as much. Continue playing with your puppy until it bites again and repeat the steps above to encourage an alternative behavior.
Puppy-Proof Your Home
The next step in your puppy training is to ensure that your home is puppy-proof. Because puppies don’t know what they can chew and bite around your home, you can’t let them get a hold of things like electronics, sharp items, and other dangerous objects. Small pieces of bones may also become lodged in their throats, so be sure that your home is safe for a little pup by doing the following:
- Set up a room for your puppy and ensure that there’s nothing inside that your pup can bite, chew, or destroy.
- Hide away all lamps and electrical cords if you want your puppy to roam around your home. You can either cover them using a cord protector or place them somewhere that your puppy can’t reach.
- Make sure that all drugs, medication, and human food are out of sight and reach, to ensure that they will have a safe environment.
- If you want to allow your pup to play in the backyard, be sure that it’s a safe place for them by removing dangerous plants that can potentially harm your pup.
- Falling from stairs can cause serious injuries in puppies, so make sure that your staircases are closed off by using a baby gate.
Give Your Pup Chew Toys
Because puppies love to chew, giving them dog toys is one of the best ways to ensure that they don’t chew your household items. Be sure to provide them with an appropriate toy that won’t cause injuries, such as plush toys and tug toys. It’s also best to think about the size and durability of a toy, making sure that it will last continuous chewing by your pup.
Teething toys can help your pup relax but it’s important to make sure that your vet approves of the toy before giving it to your pet. A good option to try are treat toys, which provide a redirection method for misbehaving dogs through reward-based training for good behavior. These toys can be stuffed with kibble, treats, peanut butter, and other food that your dog loves.
Try Various Training Techniques
If you’re serious about limiting dog bites, you’ll need to learn various training methods to instill discipline in your puppy. This will be hard work for new puppy owners and will take some time but once you’ve enforced them, your pup will understand them and encourage normal dog behavior. Below are a few things you need to know about disciplining your dog.
- Practice Consistency: If you find that your pup is always biting you or is physically destructive around your home, command them with “No.” Make sure that you’re consistent with this command and repeat it as much as possible. Doing this will ensure that your pup stays well-behaved even when you’re not with them.
- Act Immediately: Don’t wait a few minutes before you punish your pup once it does something bad. A puppy can forget what it did in just a few minutes, so waiting before you do something can be ineffective. When you do punish them, never do anything physical — verbal cues are enough to let them know that they’re doing something wrong.
- Don’t Be Harsh: First things first; never physically punish your pup and instead, opt for positive reinforcement. When you’re too harsh, your puppy will only become scared of you and may even display aggressive behavior. When you need to scold them, don’t scream or shout; use a calm tone instead.
Encourage them to Exercise and Play
Should you find that your puppy is still biting too much, there are activities and exercises that will provide physical and mental stimulation for your pup. In general, puppies require one to two hours of play every day but this will vary depending on their breed, physical condition, and health. For instance, bulldog puppies are lazy, and one and a half hours of walking is all they can do.
On the other hand, Dalmatians and Huskies can be so active that they can go for hours on end. Be sure to look for dog-friendly parks around your area and take your pup out for a walk in the morning or evening whenever you can. If this isn’t an option, you may also play and train with them in your backyard, provided that you have a large open area that’s more convenient for pups.
Puppies are a lot more active compared to adult dogs of the same breed and will happily play tug of war, hide and seek, and other games to spend their energy and reduce instances of biting. A better way of playing with them is to offer them treats when they do well — be sure to feed them gently and reward their good behavior.
Use Positive and Negative Reinforcement
You may opt to get professional help from dog trainers who will usually use reinforcement rather than punishment, which will usually take two different forms which are discussed below.
- Positive Reinforcement: This includes treats, praise, and petting your dog whenever they learn a new command, does good things, or follows instructions. Doing this helps to build their confidence and uplift them — most trainers will say “good dog” in a high tone to show the dog their delight.
- Negative Reinforcement: While many trainers don’t usually practice negative reinforcement, it provides a different way to conduct puppy classes and doesn’t involve any physical punishment or pain. One way to do this is to pull on their collar whenever they sit at a place they aren’t supposed to or to remove treats when they don’t listen to commands.
Now You Know How to Stop Your Puppy from Biting
We hope that the information above has answered your question “Why is it that my puppy will not stop biting me?” With just a bit of training and consistency, you may be able to get rid of this habit and replace it with healthier ones. Whether it’s because of anxiety, teething, or playfulness, it’s up to you to enforce the right behavior in your puppy.
There are plenty of ways to do this, and it’s up to you whether or not to try various methods or if you want to start puppy classes. No matter what you do, remember that physical punishment is never an answer, and always treat your pup with love and kindness all the time.